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…Premier League charges fight: City hire £5,000-an-hour lawyer

Manchester City have reportedly hired renowned barrister Lord Pannick KC to lead their defence team following the charges of breaking numerous financial rules by the Premier League.

On Monday, the Premier League announced that the Citizens have been charged with breaching over 100 financial rules after a four-year investigation.

Alleged breaches are said to have been committed across nine different seasons between 2009-10 and 2017-18 and will be referred to an independent commission.

The charges against the reigning Premier League champions relate to financial information regarding revenue, details of manager and player remuneration within the rel­evant contracts, UEFA regulations, profitability and sustainability and

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 co-operation with Premier League investigations.

Man City have released a state­ment expressing their ‘surprise’ at the Premier League’s allegations considering their “irrefutable evi­dence” in support of their position.

Should the independent commission find City guilty of the breaches, they could face unprec­edented sanctions such as transfer bans, points deductions or expul­sion from the Premier League.

Man City continue to deny the allegations and are determined to clear their name, with a recent re­port claiming that they are prepared to go to either the High Court or Supreme Court if needed to fight their case.

According to the Daily Mail, the Citizens have hired Lord Pannick KC of Blackstone Chambers to act as their main defence lawyer.

The report adds that Pannick charges around £5,000 per hour for his services, matching the highest earners in the Premier League.

The Citizens would therefore be required to pay around £400,000 per week to hire Pannick, roughly the same amount as the club’s high­est earner Kevin De Bruyne.

Pannick is regarded as one of the UK’s leading barristers and was

one of the key figures who helped overturn UEFA’s two-year Cham­pions League ban imposed on Man City at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020.

In addition, the 66-year-old re­cently advised former Prime Minis­ter Boris Johnson over the Partygate inquiry during the Coronavirus lockdowns.

If Man City were proven guilty, several Premier League clubs allegedly want to see the current holders punished with relegation from the top tier of English foot­ball.

Recent reports have also sug­gested that City chiefs expect man­ager Pep Guardiola to have already left the Etihad Stadium before any potential sanctions.

The 52-year-old has spent the last six-and-a-half-years with the Citizens, winning 11 trophies in­cluding four Premier League titles and four EFL Cups.

Guardiola currently sees his side sitting second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Arsenal who have a game on hand. —Reuters

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